The other day I heard someone say they hate this time of year. At first, I thought they were joking but they went on to explain the stress that comes along with all the festivity. Sure, it’s jam packed with special events and fun entertainment, but American holidays aren’t for the weak. Black Friday is just the beginning. Among busy schedules, school programs, buying the perfect gifts for loved ones, and keeping up with a full-time job, the holidays can be some of the busiest and most stressful times. But how can we take a step back and regain the joy of the holiday season? I don’t have all the answers, but here are a few tips.
1. Be willing to say no. So often, we feel like we have to attend all the events…the Christmas programs, holiday light shows, Christmas parties, and that we have to get all the good sales. It can become overwhelming just to remember what you have to do! This holiday season, don’t let it get the best of you. Sometimes, you just have to say no. If you want to give time to the right things during the holidays, you need to have enough time in your schedule. Ask yourself: will it be a big deal if I miss that special sale at Bloomingdales? Will my holiday be ruined if I don’t make it to so-and-so’s Christmas party? The answer is usually no. And just be honest with people…they appreciate the honesty and respect your time management skills! Also, one of the most helpful things can be to block off some time just for you to relax, and then refuse to use it for any other purpose.
2. Do the things you like. First, think about what you spend your time doing during the holidays. Are those things you enjoy? If not, a few simple adjustments will make your season a lot happier. Instead of spending time fighting crowds at the shopping mall, opt to save time shopping online and do something you enjoy afterwards. Think about creative ways to divert things you hate doing into something you love doing. There’s a multitude of fun and festive traditions around Christmas, but maybe you just enjoy sitting on the couch enjoying a good book with the tree lights glowing. Whatever it is you enjoy, do more of it.
3. Surround yourself with positive people. Everyone has unique stories—and there are positive and negative personalities that come with them. With the added stress of busy schedules and the hum of holiday madness, think about the types of people you’d like to be around. I’m not suggesting to exclude people you love, but I am suggesting to take a good look at who you’re choosing to be around. Positive people have a way of making us all better, and that leads to greater joy during the holidays.
4. Be thankful. In a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, researchers found that people who practiced gratitude regularly reported feeling much healthier and having fewer health complications than those who didn’t. Yes, it can affect you in a positive way. Physically. Mentally. And more. This season, instead of thinking about the things you missed, didn’t accomplish, or all the debt you’re left with after holiday shopping, take some time to think about what’s good in your world.
Sum it Up
However you’re spending your season, spend it enjoying this time of year. Spread the joy this holiday season by saying no to things you can’t fit in, doing more of what you like, hanging out with positive people, and being thankful. But here’s the trick: these suggestions are applicable all year, not just during the holidays.